Checking Engineer – Currently Party Wall Surveyors are appointing members of the Institute of Structural Engineers to advise them because they consider the works are too complex to understand, they are not adequately insured, they are not qualified; in other words two professionals are being used – the question then arises would one of these professionals suffice and if so why are two being used?
Party Wall Surveyors are registered and assessed within the Faculty or Architecture and Surveying of the Chartered Institute of Building/Chartered Institute equivalents. They are required to have ideally a master’s degree (or at least a lesser degree) in Building Surveying, expertise and experience to meet the needs of those affected by their practice and not to work outside of their expertise (not to be negligent). The Institute of Structural Engineers also have members who are expert Party Wall Surveyors.
Appointing owners are expected to have carried out due diligence in the selection of their party wall surveyor and if they don’t, and their surveyor is negligent, they are financially responsible re fees. If they have been misled by their appointed party wall surveyor that surveyor is negligent and the appointing owner can claim back the fees through the courts.
A Chartered Professional will instantly recognise from the outset whether or not they require a checking engineer and if they do they should advise their potential appointing owner that they should appoint someone with the necessary competence. If they don’t they know that the cost to the building owner is likely to be more and therefore that it will be an unreasonable expense under the act. If they don’t they will build up relations with Checking Engineers which will seem unsavoury to onlookers. If they delay the process because they refuse to move forward unless the Building Owner agrees the fees of their Checking engineer they are not carrying out their professional work in a timely manner. Reasonable people looking in, or affected, may determine that this is antonymous with the integrity required of a professional, produces conflicts of interest and is inconsistent with their professional obligations.
Ask the person who wants your appointment: Do you have a Masters degree in Building Surveying? Are you Chartered? Are you an expert and experienced Party Wall Surveyor? Do you require a checking engineer?
If they require a checking engineer do not appoint them as you could be liable for the fees of that checking engineer; instead appoint a Chartered Construction Professional who does not need a Checking Engineer.
Bruce Spenser MSc MCIOB – Party Wall Surveyor, Third Surveyor, Building Surveyor
London | Thanet | Ramsgate | Broadstairs | Margate